The University of Johannesburg’s Transformation Unit hosted a Transformation Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion on the 13th November 2017 at Auckland Park Kingsway Campus. Speaking at the conversation was Ms. Nene Molefi, the author of the book entitled: A Journey of Diversity & Inclusion in South Africa, Professor Salim Vally, Director Centre for Education Rights and Transformation and Farieda Nazier from the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture (FADA) presented the Emerging Arts Activist Programme Exhibition: Aluta Continua.
The Transformation Dialogue drew a dynamic crowd of respected teachers, students and staff to discuss the matter of Inclusion and Diversity in South Africa.
Speaking directly to the troubling prejudices and inequities that persist in our world, Ms Nene spoke about Diversity and how it is not good enough on its own. ”Inclusion is a missing link, creating diversity alone is not enough, we must include diversity. In doing so we need to guide people and let them know what we are working towards,” she said. She further explained that South Africans need to write their own stories and fold their sleeves and be committed to creating a solution for this country because we cannot leave it to certain people or other countries to run it for us. ”We need to be passionate enough in creating inclusive society in our country. Diversity on its own is work, the rest of the work is on inclusion” she added.
Mr Sally Vally, Director Centre for Education Rights and Transformation at UJ said, ”Renaming buildings is not the beginning and the end of colonisation and decolonising. It is unconditional hospitality that must be the core value of the character of the university. When we talk of Inclusion and Diversity, we are not saying we want a uniform kind of society, this is what a lot of people think we mean by Inclusion and Diversity. It is books like Ms. Nene’s that educate and helps bring our community together and be informed.”
Ms. Farieda Nazie, Head of Department and BTech Co-ordinator spoke on her initiative called Emerging Arts Activist programme (EAA) which is in partnership between the Apartheid Museum, UJ Transformation Unit and UJ Community Engagement office. On the exhibition, participants hail from New Nations School, UJ FADA, Missouri, Klipspruit West Secondary and Kliptown Secondary. The EAA theme Aluta Continua: Protest and Resistance in a Historical Context was focussed on the Apartheid Museum’s collection as stimulus for the artworks. The idea was to respond to the existing works through the medium of photography and collage. The work critically engaged with shared histories by relocating it within a new and current context- everyone thereby making sense and meaning of the significant moments represented by the archive.
Some themes for this year included racism, xenophobia, gender stereotypes, #FeesMustFall and housing.